Prologue - Stormy
Flamedapple took a breath of the cold, fresh air. Silverpelt seemed to be outlined in the indigo sky, in and intricate curving pattern, as snowflakes floated down to the frosty earth.
She looked back down at her smoky gray pelt. It ruffled in the soft breeze. Her belly swelled outwards, between her forelegs. Gingerly, she gave it a lick. She felt a feeble squirm from within.
Her kits were supposedly going to come any day then, and she was ordered to remain in the nursery. But it was hot and stifling in there, and she was tossing and turning, as she had been restless for days. Berryleaf, the DewClan medicine cat, refused to let her leave. And Grayclaw was constantly fussing over her, so there was hardly any escape.
Flamedapple gazed upwards again. That night was her chance.
She had easily snuck out of the nursery, and slipped through the dirtplace tunnel. While Adderflight wasn't looking, of course. Classic. I'm surprised he didn't catch me.
But just for that time, she would enjoy the nippy air through her pelt, and the downy flakes drifting through the night. The once-grassy hills were now covered in a fluffy white sheet.
As Flamedapple settled down in the snow, not minding the cold, her legs began to grow heavy. Her amber eyes drifted half-closed. The world became a land of white, as she lost herself in a deep reverie. A world where no one fights, and no one cries. Where mates stay in love forever and queens actually get to choose to have kits or not...
Guilt washed over her. She already loved the unborn lives with all her heart, but she could only imagine what her life would be like if she wasn't expecting. She could even be deputy of DewClan!
Flamedrapple drifted off again, no longer caring if she dozed off in the peaceful snow.
Suddenly, a jolt of pain broke her off from her utopia. She instantly shot to her paws. Her stomach was sore all over, and her legs wobbled. Resisting the urge to yowl in pain, she whipped around, and began to dart in the direction of the camp. No, no, no. Now of all times?
Flamedapple finally crashed through the bushes, and into the woods, where camp was stationed.
Another jolt of agony passed through her body. She gritted her teeth; that time, she nearly fainted. Ungracefully, she toppled over.
She contracted. But camp isn't far now! If she reached it, Berryleaf could give her help, and she would at least be warm. And so will my kits.
Like the fighter she was, she dragged herself to her paws once again. She was able to get a few paces, but then collapsed once again, this time in a snow drift.
The flakes at least provided some padding for her as she convulsed.
Flamedapple screeched in pain, hoping someone would hear and come to her aid.
But no one did.
The first kit was born dead. He had a silver pelt, just like his father's. A tear slithered from Flamedapple's eye, as she gazed upon the lifeless body.
The next kit was also born dead; it was a smoky gray she-cat, just like her.
She settled back down, waiting for the next jolt.
But it never came.
More tears flowed, as she realized her situation. But even out of eyes blurred with tears, she could see the gray she-cat twitch.
Her neck instantly snapped up, and she ceased her grieving.
Fast as lightning, she was at the kit's side, rasping her tongue over the little life.
At first, Flamedapple didn't think that she would pull through, for she was cold and her breathing was unnaturally shallow.
But finally, she squeaked and wriggled to Flamedapple's belly to suckle. She purred as she watched her singular kit.
She looked up and meeped. "Hello, Dimkit," Flamedapple purred. That is your name in honor of this dark night, and your beautiful coat.
The snow began to fall thicker and faster. Without a second thought, she buried her deceased kit, and picked Dimkit up by the scruff. Slowly, she padded back to camp, her heart heavy with grief yet buoyant with joy.
The scent of herbs wafted over the breeze, as Thistlestep swiftly sorted through his old herbs.
"Good, good..." he mumbled, then sniffed a somewhat dark green wilted leaf. "Yuck." It got flung into the pile of rejects. Using a large leaf, he wrapped up the stinky, old herbs and began to push them out of the medicine den with his nose and paws.
"Hi, Thistlestep!" Frostpaw mewed cheerfully, "Do you want me to take those out into the forest?"
"I got it," he grumbled. Frostpaw's tail drooped, and her ears lay flat. "Okay," she pouted. You think she would be happy that she doesn't have to be dragging smelly leaves out of camp!
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Mistpoppy's pale form outlined against the sunset light. Her belly swelled with unborn lives. The kits were going to be born any time soon; but he thought that he could just go into the forest for a little while.
He disposed of the leaves under a bush, where they wouldn't bother any other cat, as he watched the sun slip down below the horizon, and out of sight. The night was dark. Thistlestep enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Frostpaw curiously peered out of the SilverClan camp entrance. Thistlestep wasn't back yet. He must be enjoying the nice night. And think that I nearly had a chance to escape the stuffy camp!
Instead, she slinked to the fresh-kill pile, and grasped a pigeon in her jaws. Her mouth watered.
Suddenly, a wail rose up. "What's going on?" Daisystem called out. Frostpaw sprung to her paws. No, not when Thistlestep is gone! For even an inexperienced medicine cat apprentice, such as Frostpaw, would know that Mistpoppy was kitting.
Frostpaw rushed into the nursery, her mind whirling. Which herbs did she need, and where were they? She sniffed at each pile, in a panic. I've only been apprenticed for nearly a moon! I can't help a queen with kitting!
Okay, calm yourself, and find a good place to start. Frostpaw spotted the clear little pool in the corner of the den. A kitting queen would definitely need some water-drenched moss that she could drink. She collected some water and dashed into the clearing.
"Frostpaw! Mistpoppy's kitting!" Stonemist shouted to her as she ran through. Swiftly, she dropped the moss on the clearing.
"He's off in the forest somewhere. Please send some warriors to find him!" She furrowed her brow, hoping she wouldn't regret her next words. "And I will be fine until then. I promise everything will be okay." Stonemist blinked his thanks, and dragged Daisystem into the forest in search of the absent medicine cat.
Frostpaw brought the moss in for Mistpoppy. She lay on her side, panting heavily. Her flank rippled with every contraction.
Dear StarClan, how am I supposed to do this?
She pushed the moss in front of Mistpoppy's nose. She gasped her thanks, and sank her teeth into it. A stick. A stick to bite when the pain comes.
She darted out of the den, and fetched a lumpy, deformed stick from the side of the clearing. It wasn't anything fancy, but it would do.
After that, she zipped back into the nursery, and assisted Mistpoppy. She would bring in additional herbs, but she didn't want to give her the wrong thing. If she did, it could cost Mistpoppy her life.
So she placed a paw on her flank, and said, "Okay, um... push now!" The sound of the stick splintering echoed through the air, as she pushed the first kit out.
Finally, four kits lay by her side. Stonemist sat by her side, his eyes tearing.
"--And this one will be Flamekit," Mistpoppy finished. Thistlestep burst in, panicked, and panting. "Is everything all right?"
"Yeah," Frostpaw said proudly.
"I am so sorry," Thistestep sighed, "I was out in the forest, enjoying the night. I didn't think that... that it would just happen like that."
"Well, it looks like Frostpaw dealed with it fine," Stonemist mewed. She swelled with pride.
"Congratulations, Frostpaw. An excellent job, and I am very proud of you. Just know that I will be expecting great things from you now. Oh, and speaking of which, did you give Mistpoppy any borage yet?" Thistestep mewed.
"Oh--er--no," she admitted, embarrassed.
Thistlestep purred, and bounded into the moonlit night. "I'll go get some."
The night made her shiver, as the wind ruffled her fur. A singular kit dangled from her jaws.
She had given birth at around moonhigh, to two healthy kits.
But this one had to go. It was just the way that Moonpelt, the medicine cat gasped and looked at him. He was an exact replica of the evil Birchstar, who's reign had just ended. But he wasn't the father! A tear slipped down her cheek.
But maybe Moonpelt had looked at him like that, because it meant something more. Such an exact replica of Birchstar, without him being a father, could only be an evil omen.
Gingerly, she set the mewling tom down on the ground. His smoky gray pelt blended in with the night. But his white chest, ears and tail stood out in the starlight.
"Goodbye, Streamkit," she whispered, then padded away.
Streamkit didn't know if he could stand the cold much longer. He mewed. "Mama! Mama!" he cried out.
But no one answered him but the howling wind.
Slowly, he dragged himself into a patch of grass sheltered by a branch, just so he could survive the night.
Four kits, all born at midnight, with unusual births... unusual destinies. And this can only spell trouble....
Chapter One - Dawny
Dimkit suckled at his mother, Leafshard's, stomach. Life was good.
"Mama?" He squealed out, waking Tornkit from his deep slumber.
Leafshard groaned and meowed "Yes, Dimkit?"
Dimkit opened his stunning blue eyes and smiled. "My eyes opened!"
Leafshard made the softest smile she could find as she picked up Dimkit by the scruff and dropped him in between her paws.
"That's amazing honey!" She exclaimed and licked his face.
"Maaa! Stop it! Your embarassing me!" Dimkit squealed. He pulled his face away and tumbled over Tornkit.
"Agh! Hey watch it!" Tornkit growled and pushed Dimkit off. He poofed out his chest and stood up, an evil look in his green eyes.
"Now that your eyes are open, we can fight, right?" Tornkit asked and slammed into Dimkit's shoulder, knocking him down.
"Hey!" Dimkit protested and pounced on Tornkit, who was batting his backlegs at Dimkit's open belly.
"Now, now kits, no rough housing in the den." Leafshard meowed and licked her paws, drawing the over her ears.
"Sorry Ma!" Dimkit yelled as they wrestled out of the nursery.
They fought back and forth, proving no winner. Dimkit took deep gasps of air as he raised his ears, seeing his father coming their way.
"Hi Papa," Dimkit meowed.
"Hello, Tornkit, Dimkit," their father, Lightrock, meowed and padded into the nursery, carrying them in there.
"I caught your trouble makers," he joked and set them down.
Leafshard smiled as he exited the den, for only she knew that Dimkit wasn't hers.
Dimkit's eyes gleamed brightly as he tackled his mothers tail, squealing in the process.
"Hey, Dimkit!" Tornkit called and slammed into him.
"Lets fight! With claws!" He proposed and unsheathed his razor sharp claws.
Dimkit nervously unsheathed his claws and growled, "Lets do this somewhere else."
Tornkit grinned and nodded as they searched for a tunnel in the brambles. Soon they found one.
"Here!" Tornkit exclaimed and flung himself inside of it. Dimkit followed.
He unsheathed his claws again and lunged at Dimkit, tearing his claws through his shoulder.
Dimkit winced in pain, but swung around and tore his claws through Tornkits chest.
Tornkit howled in pain, but responded with biting into Dimkits neck.
"Tornkit! Stop! Let go! That really hurts!" Dimkit whined, blood welling up around his neck.
Dimkit was knocked to the ground, after Tornkit released his grip. But before Dimkit could get up, Tornkit stabbed his claws into Dimkit's shoulders.
"TORNKIT!" Screeching, Dimkit attempted to wiggle his way out, but help saved his life.
"Dimkit! Tornkit!" Their mother called out, pulling them both out of the tunnel.
Dimkit lay on the ground, bleeding heavily.
"What were you kits doing? Ugh, nevermind that! Flamedapple! Help!" Leafshard screeched, Lightrock by her side.
Soon enough, the two kits were safely tucked in a nest in Flamedapple's den, which made Dimkit seem surprisingly safe.
It hurt Flamedapple so much to see her kit again, but she had to help him, no matter what the circumstances were.
Chapter Two - Firey
Flamekit hurried towards the entrance. She was so sick of being stuck in the nursery. With no friends, no anybody, she felt sick with frustration.
Well, she did have friends. Sisters. Brightkit was the best. But she played with the others more, and didn't really talked to Flamekit a lot. Flamekit sighed, and padded toward the entrace.
"Flamekit! Don't go outside yet. You have to wait for Brightkit, Sunkit, and Snowkit." She sighed, and nodded. "Okay, I'll wait."
She shifted impatiently, trying to mask her annoyance of waiting. Why couldn't they be faster? She wanted to go outside already. Maybe she could even slip outside of camp. That was an adventure she would hope for. She couldn't wait.
"Snowkit! Get back here! You need to groom." Mistpoppy insisted. Flamekit heard the groan of Snowkit, as the snowy white she-cat bounded back to her mother's side. "Why doesn't Flamekit have to groom?"
Flamekit growled. She didn't want to be cowering at her mother's side all day. She wanted to be exploring. "Maybe you need Mistpoppy for the whole day, but I don't. I want to go on an adventure."
Mistpoppy growled. "Flamekit. Don't be rude or mean. Snowkit's your sister. Come on now, come over here so I can groom your pelt. Groaning, and shooting a glare at Snowkit, Flamekit clomped over to Mistpoppy. "I can groom myself!" She insisted. Reaching over to groom her stiff, short, spiky, flame-red fur.
Falling over, Flamekit sat up, still trying to reach the back of her neck. Why was it so hard? Snowkit was standing beside Sunkit, trying hard not to laugh. Even Brightkit, the kindest of all three was stifling her laughter. Glaring at all three of her sisters, Flamekit crouched down. Snowkit was going to be sorry.
She concentrated on where Snowkit was snirking, and leapt. Swiping with sheathed claws, Flamekit rolled Snowkit over on her belly. Her smirk widening even more, Snowkit wailed like a lost kitten. "Mistpoppy! Flamekit's clawing me too hard!"
"Flamekit! Come here right now!" Mistpoppy glared at her, anger plain as a sun. Flamekit bowed her head, and trudged over. "I'm disappionted in you, Flamekit. You're going to stay inside while your sisters get to go outside.
Hissing, Flamekit went to her nest, and curled up, glaring at Snowkit with malice in her eyes. Stupid Snowkit. Mistpoppy always blamed Flamekit. How was that fair?
Right before they left, Flamekit let out a caterwaul. "Mistpoppy... do I have to stay here? Snowkit was the one who clawed me!" Snowkit stared at her, shock and anger crossing into her pure blue eyes. Two can play a game Snowkit.
Mistpoppy glared at Snowkit, then mewed. "Snowkit, you stay here too. I don't want to hear any fighting from the outside."
Snarling, Snowkit stomped over. The moment Mistpoppy left, she clamped her paw over Flamekit's muzzle, and clawed her pelt with the other paw. Trying to yowl in pain, Flamekit struggled against Snowkit. "Too hard? Am I too strong for you?" Snowkit taunted.
Flamekit bared her teeth, and lashed out with her back paws. Snowkit let out a yowl of outrage, calling Mistpoppy in. Snowkit flashed a smug look at Flamekit, and cried. "Mistpoppy! Flamekit keeped hitting me!"
Mistpoppy was in here in a flash. She glared at Flamekit, but she was lying down, breathing heavily. She glowered at Snowkit. "Why is Flamekit bleeding if she attacked you?"
Snowkit cringed. "I had to defend myself, but then she kicked me away."
Mistpoppy sighed. "I'm disappionted, and sick of your fighting and behaivor. I must talk to Redstar about this."
Flamekit swished her tail, and turned her back on Snowkit. She saw Sunkit and Brightkit nearby, but they were murmuring at staring at Snowkit and Flamekit. When Snowkit growled softly, and padded over to them, Sunkit mewed. "Snowkit, you're too mean. Go hang out with Flamekit." She snickered, and turned back to Brightkit, whispering softly.
Snowkit bushed her tail in anger. "Why? Flamekit's the one who started all the fighting."
Sunkit shrugged. "Oh well, didn't mean you had to fight."
Brightkit sighed. "Flamekit, you want to join me?"
Flamekit's ears perked up, and she stared hopefully at Brightkit. Sunkit sniffed. "No. You're like Snowkit. You've got to first survive Redstar's beatings."
Snowkit and Flamekit both glared at Sunkit, who promptly turned her back to talk to Brightkit. This was it. Flamekit just had to go outside. She wanted to see something other than the boring gray walls of the Nursery, and her massively annoying littermates.
She stalked toward the entrance, but at the same time leapt back. A huge red tom was standing at the entrance. "Flamekit, Snowkit, come here."
She padded over nervously, Snowkit trailing after her. "I've heard that you've been fighting."
Flamekit mewed. "Yes, but don't all kits fight? We can play fight all we want!"
"Playfighting, yes, but not this. He's tail flicked over Flamekit's wounds, that were still bleeding. "You kits were fighting claws unsheathed."
Flamekit hissed. "But I didn't fight iwth claws unsheathed! I batted Snowkit without using my claws!"
Snowkit opened her mouth to protest, but Flamekit mewed first. "Look at her! She doesn't have a single stratch on her!"
Snowkit growled. "But you kicked me super hard, and now it feels broken."
Flamekit barked a short laughter. "It can't be broken. You're not yowling in pain, and you can still walk."
Baring her teeth, she snarled. "But it still hurts. And it's all your fault. You're the one that started attacking me."
"So? My wounds still sting and they're still bleeding. You can't compare my wounds to your's."
We glowered at each other, not afraid to attack.
Redstar mewed in his dignified voice. "Stop this arguing now. I want you two to act like warriors, or don't be warriors."
"But we aren't warriors yet." Flamekit muttered rebelliously. At Redstar's "What was that?" Flamekit quickly mewed. "Nothing."
Redstar's gaze swept over all four kits. "If there is any more fighting among you kittens, then I shall prevent your apprentice ceremony from happening."
Flamekit crumpled, but nodded. It was worth it. Not fighting Snowkit to become a warrior. Being a warrior was their life time dream.
That night, while everyone was sleeping, Flamekit snuck out. She was going to see the outside of camp. Sneaking out, she passed the guards with no problem. Spotting some lump of fur nearby, she padded closer to investigate. It was another kitten!
This one was a pale gray, and had brilliant blue eyes which reminded Flamekit of Snowkit. "Who are you?" She asked.
The gray kit looked up, then scrambled to her paws. "Oh hi there. I was hoping someone would come out. Though you look no bigger than a kit yourself. I'm Stream, who are you?"
"Flamekit. Come on! I want to show you our camp!"
They dashed back toward the camp, making a big show of themselves. Redstar stood in the middle of the clearing, staring down at the two kittens. "Welcome back Flamekit. And who is this?"
Chapter Three - Stormy
Stream gazed up with his piercing blue eyes. The tom standing before him looked powerful and commanding, even hunched down to his own height. On instinct, Stream froze up.
There was just too many cats, all staring at him, sizing him up. A tawny she-cat muttered to a burly tom, shooting furtive glances at him. Am I even welcome here?
Memories too. The cold snow. A cat holding him in her jaws. Abandoned by a cat, one that was probably among the cats of this group.
"Well?" the voice echoed through his ears, although not registering in his mind. "Who are you?"
Flamekit kept on prodding him from behind. "Stream!" she whispered.
Just behind the tom, stood a she-cat, gaping at him like he was some sort of strange creature.
Before he knew it, he was rushing to the side of the clearing, slipping into one of the dens, huddling in the corner.
They throw me out, then I come back just to be gaped at. Why? What's wrong with me?
He sat there, curled up with his nose in the moss, until he saw Flamekit pad in from the corner of his eye.
"Stream? What-- what happened out there?"
"Did you see how they were all looking at me?" he muttered.
She looked at him quizzically with her warm amber eyes. "Well, of course they're going to look at you. You were a new cat, they want to know who you are."
"But did you see that tawny she-cat? The one that was judging me and whispering?"
"Yeah, that's Dawncloud. Don't pay any attention to her, she's just a grumpy old bat." Stream allowed himself a purr.
The same tom talking to him earlier poked his head through the den entrance. "Are you ready to come out?"
Flamekit gave him a confident look. He nodded, and strolled out of the den, convincing himself that everything would be all right.
Once again, he was in the clearing, with all the other cats around him.
"Poor thing," he heard a she-cat coo. Ignoring it, he spoke.
"My-my name is Stream."
"Welcome to MapleClan, Stream."
Strangely enough, everyone seemed nice once he was welcomed, and given a place to sleep in the apprentices' den. They all seemed nice enough, except for this one sassy tabby. "Oh Great StarClan, I think I have a piece of dirty bedding! Cloudpaw, I bet you did this!" He snorted.
He couldn't get to sleep, as every apprentice kept on tossing and turning, kicking at his bedding, occasionally shooting an annoyed glance at him for a reason that he didn't understand.
Eventually, Stream gave up on sleep. To his relief, there wasn't any cats out in the clearing, except for the one brown tom stuck guarding the entrance.
Seeing that no one was watching, he crept to the center of the clearing, where the moonlight hit the most. Ever so slowly, he unsheathed his curled claws, and began to scratch a small design into the dirt of the clearing. A few scratch marks turned into an intricate design, curling and striaght. The moonshine hit it just in a perfect way. Pleased at his work, he admired it.
The brown tom standing guard walked by him, heading towards the warriors' den. Stream nearly jumped three tail-lengths into the air.
"You're one weird kit. You know that right?" he murmured to him as he passed.
Stream gave him a confused look.
As the guards switched, Stream padded back into the apprentices' den, yawning. But even his newfound exhaustion couldn't keep him from noticing a pair of gleaming eyes fixed on him, peering out from the warriors' den.
This time Redstar was looking at him in a different way, up on the High Stone. Flamekit stood next to him, breathing deeply, trying to contain her excitement. Stream noticed with amusement that a tuft of fur behind her ear was sticking up, like it always did.
Stream was just focused on not breaking down in front of the whole intimidating crowd of cats.
"Flamekit, from this moment until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Flamepaw. Sunblaze, you have skill and bravery in battle. Pass on these skills to young Flamepaw as her mentor."
Flamepaw came forward to touch noses with Sunblaze, twitching with excitement and happiness that she got a good mentor.
Good, now I at least know what I'm supposed to do.
"Stream, come forward. From this moment until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Streampaw. Dawncloud, you provide logical thinking and quick wits. Pass on these to Streampaw."
His heart dropped, in shock and disappointment. He almost ran off again, but decided that he had to stay strong this time, or else he had a chance of being kicked out of MapleClan.
Because it was the tawny she-cat that was whispering about him, disapproving of him.
Tentatively, he padded forward to touch noses with her. He hated making contact with other cats. So when his noise bumped against hers, he recoiled, hoping that no one had noticed his little jump.
Flamepaw's three other littermates earned their apprentice names: Sunpaw, Brightpaw, and Snowpaw.
"Flamepaw! Streampaw! Brightpaw! Snowpaw! Sunpaw!" the Clan cheered. For once, he actually felt wanted by cats, accepted, although he couldn't deny that they seemed to get quieter while cheering his name. But no matter. He was a part of things now, no longer a pitiful kit struggling through the leaf-bares as a small kit, spending all of his free time wondering why he was abandoned on that frosty night so long ago.
"Hey, Streampaw! Sunblaze is going to take me to tour the territory! Waterpaw is coming too! Wanna come?"
He gazed hopefully at Dawncloud, too scared of her to speak.
Dawncloud returned a strict look, her amber gaze burning. "No time for piddling around. We're going right to work and training."
Flamepaw's mouth dropped open in jealousy. Am I supposed to be excited about this?
"Lucky!" Brightpaw gasped, padding up.
"Now come on, and we'll shape you up!"
At first, he was padding along with the rest of the apprentices, who were practically bouncing with excitement. Streampaw wasn't really as nervous or enthusiastic as the others. He had lived in the forest with no company, up until now. There was nothing new there.
"Here, we stop." Streampaw screeched to a halt.
"Bye, Streampaw!" Flamepaw hollered over her shoulder.
"And good luck," Snowpaw smirked. Streampaw looked down, unwilling to meet her eyes.
He didn't look up even when Dawncloud started talking to him.
"Okay, let's get started. Now, show me what you think is a good hunting crouch."
He let out a sigh of relief. He had to learn to hunt when he was a tiny kit after he was abandoned, so he knew these kind of things. With renewed confidence, he crouched low to the ground, flat as a leaf.
"Well this won't do," Dawncloud tutted. She gave a slap to his hind leg. "You don't have much strength built up there to leap."
"But-but I've been hunting like this my whole life until now," Streampaw weakly pointed out.
"Hmm. There are more efficient ways to do so." She gave another slap to his hind leg. It wobbled.
"Building up your strength is first. Now let's get started, shall we?"
"Place your paw in that knot!" Dawncloud was shouting. Unsteadily, he crept along the tree branch, his pads scraping against the rough bark. Ever so slowly, he crept to the very edge. It wobbled uncontrollably. Then, he leaped to the other branch.
"Move up!" Curses ran through his head, as he tried to haul himself up to the next level.
Suddenly, a yowl broke out. He heard bushes rustle, as cats slammed through them, eliciting a surprised screech from Dawncloud.
"Fox! We found one by the border, it's after us!" shouted Sunblaze, Flamepaw at his side. Following, was Brightpaw and her mentor, Petalshine.
He tried to scrabble up to the next branch, so at least he was in a good position. But his claw was snagged in the bark. He let out a frightened mew.
"Streampaw, you're hopeless!" Dawncloud snarled up at him, "Now stay up there!"
He had no choice, dangling precariously from the slick bark.
An angry snarl broke out. From the bushes, burst a large male fox, jaws snapping, dripping with foam. His heart thumped, although he could only see it from the corner of his eye.
Lunging toward the apprentices, the fox snapped it's jaws once again. Flamepaw and Brightpaw leaped back, with a screech. Even from his angle, he could see that Flamepaw's ear was spurting a bit of blood.
Alarmed, he lost his grip on the smooth bark, and rather gracefully tumbled onto the branch beneath him.
He clung on, keeping his breath, as the warriors tried to fight off the fox.
A sickening crack echoed around him.
Fear surged through him, as the thin branch began to snap, hanging from the tree. His eyes opened wide in horror as he scrabbled on the side of the tree, deparately trying to hold on.
A last snap was heard, and the branch went plunging, taking Streampaw with it.
Everything happened in a second. Clumsily, he landed on top of the branch, the air knocked out of him, seeing black spots. There was a huge ache on his side where he slipped.
"Streampaw! Streampaw!" Voices rang above him, although he couldn't quite make out who was talking.
Blinking slowly, he tried to regain his senses. His eyes opened to a ghastly sight.
The fox was crushed under the tree branch, spattered with blood. Its jaws were still wide open, right at him.
"Streampaw, are you okay?" Dawncloud asked sharply.
"M-ugh..." he moaned. With the help of the warriors, he was able to get into an unsteady standing posititon.
"Are you gonna be all right?"
He nodded. Flamepaw brushed up against him.
To his shock, Dawncloud came forward, a proud gleam in her eyes. "Well done! It was very brave to do that, although I wouldn't advise it. Very impressive too. I have high expectations for you, from now on."
Sunblaze dipped his head. "You certainly show some great potential."
Flamepaw and Brightpaw just purred.
Deciding that it was enough for the day, and that Streampaw needed the medicine cat, they began to pad back to camp. His body still stung, and he was a little dizzy, but recovered much better than he thought.
Flamepaw came up beside him, brushing his flank.
"You know, you didn't have to save us," she mewed haughtily.
How can they all not know that it was an accident?
But as she strolled up ahead of him, she cast a glance over her shoulder, and winked.
For the first time in his life, he felt his heart lurch.
Chapter Four- Dawny
Dimkit prowled around the nursery and glanced up at her mother. His expression with grim, seeing as how he was injured.
Days before, Dimkit and Tornkit were planning to go on a adventure outside of camp, but insted, an incident happened.
Dimkit shoved Tornkit and snarled. "So, are we going tonight or not?" Tornkit nodded and prodded at the nearest pebble.
Leafhard stared at the two and narrowed her big amber eyes. "What are you two yapping about?"
"Nothin' Momma!" The two squealed and ran off. Leaving Leafshard lost in train of thought.
Once again, they were questioned by Poppyleaf, another queen. "Look, we aren't up to anything, O.K?" This time Tornkit answered for Dimkit and him.
Poppyleaf glared at for a moment, but looked away to tend to her new borns.
"Dimkit, we need to talk!" Leafshard yelled to her adopted kit.
"What are you and Tornkit planning?"
"Don't lie to me Dimkit, what are you and Tornkit going to do?"
"Mom! We aren't going to anything! Trust me!" Dimkit stormed off and crawled behind some brambles to find his meeting spot with Tornkit.
"Tornkit!" Dimkit hissed/whispered. Not hearing a response, he climbed further into the bramble, in the process, he tore his leg to shreds.
He collasped and gritted his teeth in pain, wanting to cry out like a helpless kit so bad.
He woobled out of the den and collasped once more, feeling slighly dizzy.
Leafshard raced to his side, a shadow looming over his shoulder. "Dimkit!" She screamed and examined his for-leg.
"This is why I tell you to stay out of the thorns and brambles!" His mother commented as Dimkit boredlly laid in his small nest.
"It's not my fauly you know, it's actually Tornkits fault." He replied dully, barely glancing up at his worried mother.
"Oh? And how's that?" She askd quizzically.
"He told me to meet him there, for... Well it doesn't matter."
"Actually yes it does matter, why were you going to meet him, in private?"
"M-aamm!" Dimkit whined and laid his ears down flat.
She stared at him with a stern flash in her green lit eyes.
"Me and Tornkit were going to sneak out in the middle of the night." Dimkit slumbed into his nest and covered his face.
"Oh Dimkit, what am I going to do with you?" Leafshard wrapped her fuzzy tail around Dimkits side and pulled him towards her, purring.